Social Innovation Fund

Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund was a federal initiative that enlisted private intermediaries to help expand evidence-based programs promoting economic opportunity, healthy lives, and youth development. As the fund's largest intermediary, EMCF helped 12 grantees reach an estimated 110,000 additional young people.

EMCF matched $30 million from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) with $30 million from our own endowment and, through the True North Fund, helped the 12 grantees secure the matching funds they were required by statute to raise in order to receive this funding. 

our goals with the social innovation fund

Our SIF grants were designed to build the evidence base and organizational capacity of a select cadre of nonprofits so they could:

  1. Significantly increase the numbers of youth served by effective programs, and
  2. Substantially advance the evidence of their effectiveness with rigorous evaluations 

EMCF conducted national competitions to select 12 nonprofits to receive EMCF SIF awards. The competitions drew hundreds of applicants from across the country.

To learn how the first nine grantees were selected in 2011, see A Summary of EMCF's 2010-2011 Selection of SIF Grantees

To learn how the final three grantees were selected in 2013, see 2012-2013 Grants Competition Selection Process Report.


Every dollar from the SIF directly benefited grantees, supporting infrastructure development, capacity building and evaluation. We covered all administrative costs for EMCF and for our strategic collaborators in the SIF, MDRC and the Bridgespan Group, as well as the costs of Bridgespan’s planning and capacity-building support to grantees.

EMCF’s work with the SIF,  completed in 2018, was in addition to our normal grantmaking activity. The grants we made with the $30 million awarded by the SIF and our own $30 million in matching funds were over and above the grantmaking we do to meet the payout of 5 percent of endowment that private foundations are required to make yearly.